Even the most ardent of football fans would be forgiven if they haven’t heard of UP Langreo, the current employers of former Swansea superstar Michu.
A club based in the north-west Spain, the fourth division side boast a stadium capacity of just over 4000. It is hard to believe that a player of the calibre and quality of Michu has now been relegated to a lowly, unheard Spanish team.
The Spaniard's slump perfectly embodies the fickle nature of a sportsman. One day at the peak of your career; the next a forgotten name.
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Michu is the living embodiment of a late bloomer. He was relatively unknown during his early days in Spain when playing for Celta Vigo before making a spectacular dash out of oblivion to join La Liga rivals Rayo Vallecano.
The forward performed admirably in the 2011/12 season, scoring 15 goals for the Madrid based side and earned himself a €2 million move to Wales, with Michael Laudrup's Swansea - an extraordinary bargain.
Upon his arrival, Michu was a conventional attacking midfielder yet encouraged to play as central striker for the Swans. He had a dream debut, scoring twice and nabbing an assist against QPR on the opening day of the 2012 Premier League season.
The Spanish striker was instrumental that season, averaging a goal every second game. Fans will fondly remember his gallant displays in away games against heavyweights Arsenal and Chelsea, scoring a brace in both.
His brilliant displays for the Welsh club also earned him a solitary national appearance against Belarus in a World Cup qualifier.
The Spanish forward was playing the best football of his career in the 2012/13 season, but his form began to slump with the commencement of the next Premier League campaign.
He struggled throughout the entirety of the season and was eventually beaten to the starting striker role by Ivory Coast striker Wilfried Bony. The Spaniard, who showed great promise the previous season, was reduced to play second fiddle.
The forward was eventually shipped off to Serie A side Napoli in 2014 on loan, though he once again failed to impress with matters worsened by an ankle injury, further curtailing his appearances in Naples.
Michu made only five appearances for Napoli during his short spell and failed to find the net even once, struggling to recapture form from his days at the Liberty Stadium.
On November 9, 2015, Michu was released by Swansea and joined little-known Spanish side UP Langreo, in an attempt to prolong his footballing career.
Michu’s unprecedented and shocking downfall in recent years serves as a cruel reminder of the volatile and unforgiving career of a footballer.
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